By: Gary W. Small, M.D.

My wife’s 103-year-old grandmother lived in a third floor walk-up apartment in New York City. Every day she walked up and down those stairs several times to go shopping, to the post office, the dry cleaner’s and do other little errands. At 103, she was as sharp as a tack. She never forgot a birthday, an anniversary or a single holiday. And God forbid you forgot to send her a card or call her on her birthday — you’d hear about it for ages. The exercise she got on those stairs and errands may not only have protected her heart so she could live past 100, it may also have protected her brain.

Walking is one of the safest and easiest ways to get an aerobic workout. How much walking or exercise each person needs depends on their baseline fitness level, age and other health factors. And getting short amounts of cardio workouts throughout the week is more effective than being a weekend warrior who only exercises on Saturday and Sunday.

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